Why the Tampa Bay Rays are intent on building around Franco
The Tampa Bay Rays have always been high on Wander Franco. With a fantastic 2021 campaign, the Rays are now ready to give him a huge contract. At just 20 years of age, Franco is set to become the Rays’ best player for years to come.
The Rays signed Franco when he was only a 16-year-old prodigy. He was baseball’s biggest prospect at the time but he didn’t make his debut until the 2021 season. Franco was amazing in his rookie season as he lived up to his potential. The ballclub was always high on Franco and they plan to reward him with a max contract.
The deal is not yet finalized but the Rays will most likely give Franco an 11-year contract which will include a 12-year team option. That is one of the biggest deals in MLB history and the Rays are focused on making it happen. The deal will most likely have a guaranteed $182 million that can max out at $223 million with incentives.
The Rays feel Franco is the most impactful player in the MLB
Franco is still young but he has shown that he plays beyond his age. Rays manager Kevin Cash believes that Franco is already the most impactful player in the MLB. That is huge praise but when you watch Rays games, you can see that Cash is not hyperbolic with his statement. He is already a well-developed shortstop and his intangibles are prominent.
Cash said, ‘I think you could make the argument that he's the most impactful player on any team in baseball. Certainly for us, our team was really good; we got better when he came. He lengthened our lineup. He made our defence better. He worked really hard on his defence to make his defence better, and it made our overall defence better’.
The youngster will only turn 21 in early March 2022 which means he has so much time left to develop the other areas of his game. He is already strong with his batting, discipline, and accuracy but he still has room for improvement. Franco is on his way to superstardom and playing for the Rays will be the right choice for him.
Franco is the right centrepiece for the Rays
The Rays are well known for their foresight when locking down star players to long-term deals. Franco will just be the latest name in their squad’s solid history. With their 100-62 record in the 2021 season, the Rays have the foundation to be successful in the foreseeable future.
Franco will be the centrepiece of their system and they will look to build around him. As the team’s next superstar, you can expect him to play big minutes for the Rays. Locking him down to a long-term deal is the first step to securing the Rays’ future success.
Words: Cholo Martin